ThinkJet was the first mass-marketed personal inkjet printer. Inkjet technology spelled
the end for the noisy dot-matrix printer.
This small, rugged printer, dubbed ThinkJet for thermal inkjet,
was introduced in 1984. Just as the HP-35
calculator replaced the manual slide rule forever, inkjet technology
spelled the end for the noisy dot-matrix printer. Thermal inkjet
technology developed at HP
was introduced in a high-quality, low-price personal printer.
The invention came about when an engineer working on developing
thin-film technology for integrated circuit applications was testing
the response of a thin silicon-based film to electrical stimulation.
The electricity superheated the medium, and droplets of fluid lying
under the film were expelled. An idea was born. What if you could
finely control these jets of fluid? Large, industrial inkjet marking
devices already existed, but up to this point only crude printing
of quite large characters for industrial purposes was practical.
Suddenly it looked like this marking technology could be miniaturizedand
it had the advantages of requiring very little power to print and
being inherently inexpensive to manufacture.
Inkjet technology offered HP
the opportunity to replace the least expensive printer in the marketserial
dot-matrix printerswith products that were superior in every
way. Inkjet had the potential for better print quality, greater
font and graphics capabilities, quieter operation, extremely low
power consumption and, eventually, high-quality, low-cost color.
This sound was recorded using the HP 912 digital camera located about 4
inches away from the top of the printer with the lid open so you can hear
the inkjet print head move across the paper and the advance of the paper
through the printer. Although this sample is relatively loud, during normal
use the apparent sound volume is greatly diminished at greater distances
from the printer.
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